Petition to Support Ethnic Studies in SDUSD
We, the undersigned, support the effort to establish a mandatory Ethnic Studies course as a graduation requirement in all high-schools in the San Diego Unified School District, as well as an Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee (ESAC) that will aide in the development and implementation of this curriculum.
San Diego is a world-class city that boasts over one hundred spoken languages and a great variety of ethnicities and cultures. Despite this diversity, at the moment there is just 1 Ethnic Studies course offered to the 100,000+ students throughout SDUSD. As over 75% of the students are people of color, it is imperative that the district offer courses that examine and honor the rich histories and lived experiences of our many youth.
In solidarity with California’s push to create a more equal school system, we support AB 101 that will resolve to make ethnic studies courses available to every student. Research has shown that students who have had access to Ethnic Studies courses do better in school and are more likely to go to college. It is important to have courses that speak to students who may feel invisible and marginalized, to inspire and motivate them in their education, so that they learn their own history, engage actively in their own learning, and connect in meaningful ways to the larger community. By providing Ethnic Studies courses in SDUSD, we are creating and expanding a world-class school system rooted in the unique perspectives of students in the San Diego community.
The Ethnic Studies Now Coalition
I support AB 101 (Alejo) which would require school districts to provide students with a statewide, approved A-G, ethnic studies curriculum.
California has one of the largest and most diverse student populations in the nation. Ethnic minorities account for over 71 percent of the student population, with more than 90 languages spoken in District schools.
Given California’s annual increase in diversity, it is especially important that students build knowledge of the various racial and ethnic groups in our state. Incorporating ethnic studies courses into standard high school curriculum is a means to accomplish this. In doing so, students gain an encompassed outlook on other cultures while learning respect and tolerance. Additionally, it provides students with the opportunity to learn about their respective culture in the context of California’s history.
Developing ethnic studies programs in public high schools is an integral part of cultivating a classroom environment that is accepting of diverse cultures. It is vital for young people to learn about their history, but also important for them to feel like they can change their communities in positive ways. This bill will help close the achievement gap by reducing student truancy, increasing student enrollment, reduce drop-out rates, and better prepare Californian youth to be college prepared and career ready.